Slow Travel in Placencia, Belize: A How-to Guide

by Megan Rodden

American author, Douglas Pagels, wrote these sage words in his best-selling anthology, Simple Thoughts:

The secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by slowing down and inventing some imaginary letters along the way.”

In a world that has become hyper-fast-paced, many people are recognizing the importance of pumping the brakes.  Embrace slowing down and savoring each moment.  If you feel frazzled and stressed by the hectic energy and demanding routines of your day-to-day, perhaps it’s time for a vacation to reset the equilibrium of your work-life balance.  Give “slow travel” a try—a trip that isn’t about ticking off a checklist of attractions, but rather an approach to experiencing a destination with intentionality and mindfulness.  Placencia, Belize, with its welcoming laid-back vibe, natural beauty, and interesting culture, is the perfect place to take an unhurried holiday and immerse yourself in the tranquil, tropical atmosphere of village living.

Taking Time for What Truly Matters

Photo by the Belize Tourism Board

Slow travel is about taking the time to connect with a place, its people, and its rhythm.  It is about letting go of schedules and allowing yourself to be in the moment.  A great vacation should be restorative, rejuvenating, and inspiring.  It should include both rest and adventure.  

Placencia, Belize. Photo by the Belize Tourism Board.
Photos courtesy the Belize Tourism Board
Photo Credit: The Belize Tourism Board
Placencia, Belize. Photo Credit: Belize Tourism Board

On the southern coast of Belize, the 16-mile-long Placencia Peninsula is known for its sandy beaches and quaint communities.  Many of the faces wear smiles as warm as the Caribbean sun, and the melting pot of cultures creates an exciting culinary scene to explore.  Situated between the beautiful barrier reef and the mysterious jungle, Placencia is a gateway to great terrestrial and marine adventures.  The preferred modes of transportation are golf carts and bicycles or simply shuffling around on your own bare feet.  Colorful wooden houses are mixed among palm trees, beach bars, boutique hotels, and charming little gift shops.  

Some Tips for Making the Most of Slow Travel

Photo Credit: ROEming Belize

1. Log off from social media and tune in to the people and experiences around you.  Placencians are notoriously talkative and friendly so striking up a conversation is easy!  Asking for help identifying an unfamiliar fruit at the produce market or querying which roadside eatery serves the best burritos can often segue into a story or two.  Google might have the answer but it’s much more fun and authentic to find it out in the real world.

2. Savor the moment, even when you’re busy not doing much at all.  Take a quiet stroll along the beach to watch a sunrise paint the sky in hues of orange and pink as a new day breaks.  Pause to appreciate the gentle sway of a hammock and the sound of the ocean breeze rustling the fronds of a palm tree.

3. Connect with the local cultures through cuisine.  Who doesn’t love a tasty meal?  Sample traditional dishes and regional favorites from Garifuna to Mayan, Creole, and East Indian. Placencia is a mélange of cultures, and the dining scene reflects this mosaic.  From fine dining restaurants to humble takeaway taco stands, you’ll find intriguing offerings to indulge in.

Similar: Why Belize is Perfect for the Slow Travel Trend

4. Lean into each experience as it happens and take time to fully enjoy your excursions.  Don’t make the mistake of overbooking yourself and rushing from one activity to the next.  With so many incredible things to see and do, it can be tempting to try and schedule them all in, but there’s something to be said about doing less and enjoying it more.  Whether climbing ancient Maya temples surrounded by rainforest or frolicking among sea turtles and vibrant tropical fish, take time to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the experience.

5. Go with the flow and let some experiences develop organically.  Remain flexible and open to advice and suggestions.  Some of the best and most memorable days might develop when you had no plans at all but simply followed your heart.

Slow travel offers a much-needed antidote to the breakneck speed of modern life, a chance to escape the rat race and reconnect with what truly matters.  In Placencia, the art of slow travel is perfected, and visitors are invited to unwind, explore, and savor the beauty of this tropical hamlet.  So, why rush? 

Featured: Placencia, Belize. Photo by Duarte Dellarole

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